Having suffered a tough 36-22 loss against the undefeated Manly Sea Eagles last week, the Raiders NYC side will be looking to bounce back against the Melbourne Storm at GIO Stadium this Sunday.
Despite scoring early on in the game, the side was unable to keep up with the pace that the Sea Eagles set throughout the match and were unable to regain the lead for the rest of the game. Now having lost two games on the trot, the side will be desperate for a win at home this weekend.
Beating the 8th placed Melbourne Storm will be difficult enough, but losing star players Lachlan Croker and Lachlan Lewis will only increase pressure on the squad to perform.
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Preparing for in his second game in place of Croker, halfback Bradley Speechley has found the adjustment of moving from Mounties to the Raiders as positive.
“It’s pretty easy, we use a lot of the same structures, same calls and I did have a few training sessions with them (Raiders NYC squad) last week which helped,” Speechley said.
After playing his first NYC game for the Raiders at Central Coast Stadium last weekend, Speechley is highly enthusiastic to be playing for the Green Machine at home this weekend.
“It’s really good, it’s a great opportunity. I’m really looking forward to it (playing at home), I want to get another chance to get a bit more involved. It’s going be good to play at that ground for the first time!
“I’m just going to do my best every week and hopefully stay in the squad when the others come back from injury.”
One of the young Raiders’ faults last weekend was the amount of penalties they conceded to Manly and Coach Mick Mantelli was quick to address the players about the problem.
“It’s a discipline issue,” Mantelli said. “We just need to talk to them and state the fact that it’s an individual, personal issue and they’ll get another chance to fix it.”
Mantelli also spoke of the challenges the team is now facing after losing both halves, be he was also eager to give praise to the newly added Speechley.
“It’s been amazingly tough, they are our two halves. We’re now missing most of our spine so it’s very difficult.
“He’s only had two runs last but he’s going well, he’s quick on his feet and eager to learn and improve. He’ll get better the more time he spends with us; we’ll just need to make sure we are all paying together. That’s the goal.”
Currently sitting in 10th, a win this weekend for the Raiders U20’s side will be pivotal as it will potentially propel them into a top eight position.
A key inclusion to the injury depleted side is returning forward and Captain Luke Bateman. After being named on the extended squad for the NRL side last week, his experience and leadership will be much needed, especially with a new halves combination working on the field.
The game between the Canberra Raiders and Melbourne Storm kicks off at 11:45am at GIO Stadium.
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